Daily Devotion for September 25, 2010
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Mark Miller’s touching song, I Believe, is sung here by the Harmonium Choral Society in a 2014 performance. The lyrics are words scratched on the walls of a cellar in Cologne, Germany, by a Jew hiding from Nazi persecution:
I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining.
I believe in love even when I don’t feel it.
I believe in God even when God is silent.
Prayer for Forgiveness
Lord, I have betrayed you by following my own way; I have denied you by fearing to follow yours; and I have mocked you by not taking your death seriously. I sometimes feel like I am lost. Let your forgiveness find me. Hold me in your strong arms and give me your new life. Live in me and with me this day, that I may by your power find forgiveness and be made ever anew, reborn from above, living fully in your Spirit every minute. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray,
Thanks for All Mercies
Everlasting King, your will for our salvation is bursting with power. Your right arm controls the whole course of human life. I give you thanks for all your mercies, for those I see and for those I cannot see, and for the unnumbered mercies I cannot even imagine. For eternal life, for the heavenly joys of the Kingdom which is to be, I bend my knee in gratitude. Grant mercy to all who sing your praise, both now and in the time to come. Glory to You alone, O God of eternity, from age to age.
Prayer for Peace
I thank you, master and lover of mankind, King of the ages and giver of all good things, for destroying the dividing wall of enmity and granting peace to those who seek your mercy. I appeal to you to awaken the longing for a peaceful life in all those who are filled with hate for their neighbors, thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war.
Grant peace to your servants. Implant in us the fear of you and confirm in us love for one another. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement. For you are our peace and to you we ascribe glory: to the Father and the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages.
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have blessed me with the grace of forgiveness through the sacrifice He made for me and for all people. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
Can you place this verse? “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ”
Psalm 91:9-10 (NKJV)
Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
Genesis 28:10-17 (ESV)
The Story of Jacob  - Jacob’s Ladder
Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep.
And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it!
And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
Notes on the Scripture
acob travels toward the north, where his Great-uncle Terah and Uncle Laban live, to find a wife. He puts his head on a stone for a pillow and has a vivid dream of a ladder planted where he sleeps which reaches all the way to heaven. And their are angels traveling up and down the ladder, like Christmas shoppers on a Macy’s escalator.
God Himself, at the top of the ladder, delivers a promise to Jacob similar to that He made to Abraham and Isaac, for Jacob has been blessed by Isaac. The promise here becomes more mature, however, for Jacob’s name is Israel. God also promises not to leave him until the promise is fulfilled and to bring him back to “this land” — perhaps meaning Canaan, perhaps meaning the specific area of the dream.
We know that the offspring God speaks of are those who believe in Christ (Galatians 3:16). We might speculate, though, that the promise to bring Jacob back to “this place” refers to the return of Israel to Canaan after the great Diaspora. For although the second Temple was destroyed shortly after Christ’s ascension, and with it the practice of Biblical Judaism, the Jews were, in fact, partially returned to Canaan in the 20th century and called their home “Israel.”
Do angels literally climb up and down stairs to heaven? Almost certainly not, and yet, we are allowed to believe it if we want. Our minds cannot know God and we are simply not capable of knowing many truths. As Paul says, now we see reality as if it is a reflection in a mirror, partially and incompletely. When God has given man vision or told him something, God is giving us a truth that we can understand. He is tells us what we need to know to find him; when we die and see Him face-to-face, we will finally understand clearly. “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully.” 1 Corinthians 13:12.
But if there is not a literal ladder, God does show Jacob that angels exist and that they come to earth and travel to heaven. We cannot understand how this happens or even what angels really are, but God gives us, through Jacob, an analogy we can understand. If you want to believe that Jacob saw an actual ladder with angels going up and down, and God at the top, that is what God wants you to see. But if you simply take away from this that God does send spirits to and from earth, in a manner we cannot grasp, that is also supported by this passage.